There was no question about who earned the RCMSAA volleyball crown after the East Robertson Lady Indians finished their perfect season with a victory over White House Heritage in straight sets Thursday night.
The top-seeded Lady Indians started out on a 13-6 run, but the Lady Patriots fought back to make the score 19-17. ERMS answered by getting six of the next nine points to close out the first set.
The second set played out in similar fashion, as East Robertson jumped out to a 17-9 lead. Heritage challenged, but the deficit was too large as the match ended with a 25-18 set.
The Lady Patriots surprised many on their way to the championship game, coming in as the sixth seed. They had only won one of nine of their matches all season before defeating Jo Byrns and second-seeded Coopertown in the playoffs.
Heritage head coach Nicole Mason chalks the Cinderella run up to her team's hard work and belief in each other.
“We won because we believed in each other,” Mason said. “We worked very hard, and they never stopped working hard - probably one of the hardest-working teams I’ve ever had that just never gave up. We played every game so close, gave everybody a run for their money, and they never stopped believing. When you do that, the wins will come.”
When she looks back on this season, that is what she will remember.
“Never give up,” Mason said. “Always believe in yourself.”
The Lady Indians went 9-0 in the regular season before winning the two playoff matches. The junior varsity team also won its championship Thursday night as well.
“They brought it,” East Robertson head coach Amber Gregory said. “They worked their tails off, and they deserve every single trophy out there.”
Gregory credits the “camaraderie” of her team for the on-court success, led by varsity captains Katie Pennington and Hester Wallace and junior varsity captains Kelsey Gregory, Allye Pennington and Morgan Ryan.
“They are together,” Gregory said. “They’re on the same page. I’ve got awesome captains that keep the girls on the same page, and that to me, if you have everybody working together, then that’s going to lead to the championships.”
After a storybook season, Gregory says when she remembers this team, she will remember their spirit.
“I’m going to remember the attitudes of these girls. They are just a special group.”
2020 RCMSAA All-County Volleyball Team
GMS - Sarah Slagle
HMS - Reagan Anderson
JBMS - Reese Head, Alyssa Mitchell
SMS - Madison Little, Janiya Flair
ERMS – Katie Pennington, Hester Wallace, Zoe Hester
CMS – Kenzie King, Grace Head, Annie Rushing
RCMSAA All-Tournament Varsity Volleyball Team
JBMS – Kaliyah Lucas
SMS – Carly Long
GMS – Lexi Printz, Kenzie Kuehne
CMS – Grace Head, Nyah Hudson
HMS – Reagan Anderson, Kennedy Borgman, Natalie Perez
ERMS – Katie Pennington, Hester Wallace, Allye Pennington
RCMSAA All-Tournament JV Volleyball Team
SMS – Kaitlyn Lee
CMS – Abby Hyde
JBMS – Debra Raye Heatherly, Ella Resha
HMS – Emma Leftwich, Presley Haley
GMS – Lizzy Dill, Jaylin Pierceall, Sierra Hall
ERMS – Claire Barber, Morgan Ryan, Kelsey Gregory